Jail terms for 29 BDR guards for role in Bangladesh mutiny
Last Updated: Wednesday, April 07, 2010, 18:59
  
Dhaka: A special court in Bangladesh on Wednesday handed jail terms to 29 border guards for their role in the bloody mutiny last year that killed 57 army officers, including BDR chief Major General Shakil Ahmed.

The bloody mutiny at Bangladeshi Rifles (BDR) headquarters in the capital from February 25-26 sparked a killing spree that had left 74 people dead, including 57 army officers.

BDR chief Major General Mainul Islam, who chaired the court, convicted all the 29 accused of the 25 Rifles Battalion stationed at the frontier district in first such judgement, according to officials.

"Thirteen of them were handed down the highest seven years of imprisonment under the (BDR Act) while the others were given jail terms ranging between four months and six years," a BDR spokesman told agency after the verdict.

He said four of the accused earlier confessed their offense and sought clemency during the hearing. The court pointed out that they were shown "leniency".

The judgement came after five days of hearing that began on February 5 at the heavily guarded makeshift courtroom. They were accused of taking up arms, breaking into arsenals as the mutiny spread in BDR sector and battalion headquarters in frontier districts.

Earlier, even as the military had demanded that all mutineers be tried by court martial, the government decided to comply with a Supreme Court directive to try ordinary mutineers, who did not take part in indiscriminate killings or lootings, under the relatively lenient BDR Act that prescribes the maximum of seven years of imprisonment.

Officials said they had prepared an initial list of some 900 BDR soldiers out of around 2,100 detained border guards to be charged for their alleged involvement in killings and lootings and keeping the family members of the army officers at their Pilkhana headquarters hostage.

It was decided to try those accused of murder, looting and theft under the tough speedy trial tribunal which has the highest death penalty.

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, April 07, 2010, 18:59


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